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Former volunteers arrested on suspicion of theft

The Fayetteville Elementary School Home and School Association (HSA) has notified the Fayetteville-Manlius School District that two Fayetteville residents, who are former volunteers of the parent organization, were arrested by the Town of Manlius Police Department for alleged theft from the HSA organization.

On Sept. 17, Andrea and William Robert Cuddy, former officers of the Fayetteville Elementary School HSA were each charged with third degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing more than $30,000 from the volunteer-run nonprofit entity. The organization is separate from the school district and has its own budget and oversight.

District funds are used to support curriculum and instruction. The HSA annually raises money to provide extracurricular and enrichment opportunities for students, such as after-school language classes, classroom parties, evening storytelling programs and annual school-wide festivals.

Each of the district’s six schools has a partner Home and School Association, which is similar to a Parent Teacher Organization. Each Home and School Association operates separately from the school district and is governed by their own boards, which HSA members elect each spring for the upcoming school year.

The financial irregularities within the Fayetteville Elementary HSA’s records were flagged when a new slate of officers took over the organization for the 2018-19 school year.

According to police reports, the theft occurred during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. A police investigation has revealed the money was taken from an HSA financial account the two volunteers had access to. At that time, Andrea Cuddy was serving as an HSA volunteer, and her husband, William Robert Cuddy, was treasurer.

In 2017-18 and 2018-19, the organization was able to raise enough money so that no programs or activities run by the HSA were impacted.

In response to the incident, the HSA has implemented additional record-keeping procedures and distributes a detailed treasurer’s report to its board monthly. It also expanded its slate of officers to include an assistant treasurer position.

If you have more information that would assist in the investigation, please contact Town of Manlius Police Department Officer Ben Lesperance at 315-560-5805 or blesperance@manliuspolice.org or Officer Dan Filip at 315-382-2895 or dfilip@manliuspolice.org.